Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Pad Thai Your Whole Family Will Love!

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Keeping the family happy and healthy isn’t always easy. But there are some dishes that everybody can agree on, including mom (the health food fan). I have made this pad Thai dish a few times, playing around with measurements and different ingredients. It’s a fun dish to perfect because who doesn’t love a good pad Thai? Sometimes I crave this dish but most Thai restaurants use soy sauce, which isn’t gluten-free. So making it at home has been a wonderful treat!

I love my variation because it’s not only gluten-free but it’s also dairy and meat free. Fish sauce is a great tasting addition to the sauce but it’s not vegan. If that doesn’t matter to you, then start with 2 Tablespoons of it. You can play with different sweeteners as well. Egg (cooked alongside the tofu) is also a common addition to this dish if want to add that as well.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Pad Thai 
Serves 4-6
Ingredients:
  • 8 oz pad Thai rice noodles (cooked according to package directions, immediately rinsed with cold water)
  • 2 Tbsps coconut oil, divided
  • 8 oz or 1/2 lb tofu, cut into small strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz mung bean sprouts
  • 1/2 – 1 cup lightly packed cilantro, chopped
  • lime wedges

For the sauce:

  • 2 Tbsps organic chili sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsps organic sriracha sauce (gluten-free)
  • 2 Tbsps tamarind paste
  • 6 Tbsps palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsps mellow white miso
  • 5 Tbsps tamari (gluten-free) or soy sauce (not gluten-free)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
To serve:
  • 1/2 zucchini, sliced thin with a knife or peeler
  • 1 large carrot, sliced thin with a knife or peeler
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
Directions:
  1. Preheat frying pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Cook the tofu and garlic until browned on the bottom (about 3 minutes). Add a sprinkle of tamari to give it a browned look and saltier taste. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, tossing often, until browned.
  2. Meanwhile, place the rice noodles in a bowl of super hot water (my sink faucet gets the water very hot). Let sit for about 7 minutes while you’re making the sauce.
  3. To make the sauce, blend all of the ingredients in a blender on low/medium until smooth.
  4. In a large saucepan/frying pan combine the tofu, soaked noodles (discard the water), and 1 cup of the sauce. You can also add cooked veggies of your choice, but that’s up to you. Heat on medium until noodles are warm and everything is well cooked.
  5. Add the scallions, mung beans, cilantro and toss just to get it wilted. Add more sauce if needed. Top with shredded zucchini and carrots, additional herbs and peanuts. Lime wedges are wonderful for extra tang.

VARIATIONS: You can add fried eggs to this dish as well. Or you can even add a Tbsp or two of fish sauce to the sauce. I made it once with peanut butter as well. Use this as your foundation and play around with it. Your family will love it. You can add grilled broccoli or other vegetables as well. 

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Have you ever made a gluten-free and/or vegetarian version of other popular Thai dishes? Share your recipes in the comments!  

 

~ Juli Novotny of Pure Mamas 

DIY Popsicle Stick Bracelets…for St. Patrick’s Day!

Bracelets

Get into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit this year with these popsicle stick bracelets, perfect for Leprechauns of all ages! The simple craft really only requires 3 basic materials, but can be customized with all kinds of fun flair to accommodate all tastes. Little girls and boys alike will love sporting these around school (such an easy way to ward off the unwanted pinchers), plus they are so fun to make. The versatility of the project also makes it a great classroom activity that can easily be worked into a lesson plan about the history of the holiday. These creative cuffs are sure to bring the luck of the Irish!

Materials

Need:

  • Popsicle sticks
  • Boiling water
  • Glass cup or jar

Optional:

  • Non-toxic craft paint
  • Stickers
  • Yarn
  • Decorative tape
  • Any other decorating supplies you want to add!

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Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove and remove from flame. Place popsicle sticks in boiling water and allow them to soak for about an hour. If your water seems to be cooling off too quickly, you can refresh with more hot water halfway through.
  2. Remove popsicle sticks from the water individually and carefully massage into a curved, circular shape until the stick is able to rest in place on the inside of your glass. The sticks will be malleable but can be a bit tough so go easy as to not snap them. Also, note that the cup should be similar in circumference to the wrist it is going to fit (the littlest wrists will want to use  a smaller cup and largest wrists will want to use a wider mouth glass.)
  3. Allow to set for about 24 hours until the sticks are visibly dry. You will know they are dry when they are able to easily pop out of place. If you are having issues with the sticks drying due to humidity, you can also hit them with the hair dryer for a few seconds on low heat to help force out any remaining moisture.
  4. Let the kids go wild! The fun thing about these bracelets is that they are easy for all ages to decorate. They look beautiful with their natural finish, but will withstand any number of decorations you kids pile on. You can also be extra GREEN and use recycled materials and found objects from around the house. Get creative with magazine clippings, spare buttons, bottle caps, fabric scraps, and more.

TIP: If you are having trouble with fit,  you can also carefully puncture holes in each end of the stick and secure with a string or ribbon. Do this gently to prevent the wood from splitting down the middle.

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And save this to your DIY board on Pinterest!

bracelets pin

Are you making any St. Patrick’s Day crafts? Tell us about them in the comments!

What are Flame Retardants?

flame retardants

This is part of our ongoing series helping consumers better understand chemicals, chemistry, and product formulations. We translate the science, bust the myths, and give you an honest assessment, so you can make informed choices for your family!

 

Ingredient: Flame Retardants

What they are: The term “flame retardants” actually refers to a whole class of hundreds of different chemicals. There are three main categories: mineral, organohalogen, and organophosphorous.

What they do: As the name implies, these chemicals “retard” — or slow — the spread of fire, and they are found in a dizzying array of products from furniture, mattresses, and textiles to tents, electronics, and insulation. Flame retardants have been in use since Ancient Greek and Roman times and were first patented in 1735, but it’s only been since the 1970s that its use has become so pervasive in everyday products.

What changed? A few things. In the early 1970s, electronics, plastics, and other synthetic materials were increasingly becoming mainstays of modern living and it just so happens that all of these things are extremely flammable. Recognizing the growing risk of coexisting with so many combustibles, in 1971, children’s sleepwear became the first consumer product to be required to meet flammability standards. Around the same time, the U.S. Consumer Safety Product Commission (CPSC) created flammability standards for mattresses.

Shortly thereafter, in 1975, under Technical Bulletin 117 (TB 117), California required manufacturers to make the most flammable materials (like polyurethane foam) withstand a small open flame (like a candle) for at least 12 seconds. Despite the fact that no other state required this, manufacturers changed their products to meet this standard because California is such a huge market and it didn’t make sense to produce different products for the states.

Sadly, the history of flame retardants over the past several decades has been one of “regrettable substitution,” meaning that we’ve found ourselves in a cycle of using a chemical flame retardant, finding out it causes harm to human health, replacing it with a different chemical, only to find out that one is harmful, too. More recently, it’s also become increasingly clear that for the most part these flame retardants aren’t even reducing injuries and death from fires.

Why we’re featuring them today: Flame retardants are included in our Honestly Free Guarantee and while not all of them pose concerns, most do. So, we’re committed to avoiding them and finding safer substitutes when necessary. Here’s a tiny snapshot of just how harmful these toxics are and how big this problem is:

  • Chlorinated “Tris” (Tris(2,3-dibromopropyl) Phosphate, or brominated Tris) was originally used in children’s sleepwear until it became apparent that it was capable of causing genetic mutations and cancer. The CPSC banned it from sleepwear in 1977, but it’s still used in other baby products and home furnishings. And in 2012, it was detected in the dust of 75% of homes tested.

  • Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) is currently the most widely used flame retardant, and animal studies show it’s a hormone disruptor that impacts both thyroid and estrogenic activity, as well as has neurotoxic impacts. It is detected in human tissues, can cross the placenta, and has been measured in breast milk samples throughout the world.

  • Firemaster 550, another of the most widely used flame retardants in the United States, has been touted as a safer alternative and the result of “green innovation.” But new research shows it’s a possible hormone disruptor and obesogen (obesity-causing chemical).

  • Toxic flame retardants are in our bodies, our breastmilk, our babies and are now ubiquitous in our environment. They’ve been detected in air, sediment, plants, animals, fish, sea birds, marine mammals, and in wildlife from the North Pole to the Mediterranean Sea.

Want your home to be Honestly Free of flame retardants? Here’s how you can avoid them:

  • Shop smart. When buying furnishings, mattresses, electronics, home renovation materials (like insulation and carpet padding), and baby gear (anything with foam in it), contact the manufacturer and ask if flame retardants have been used and, if so, what kind. We know it’s a BIG shopping list, but they’re mostly items you don’t buy frequently and you’ll have in your home for a very long time, so bide your time and do your research. In regards to furnishings, pillows, and baby gear, California’s TB 117 regulation was recently updated (Yay!) and no longer requires the addition of flame retardants to polyurethane products. Still, it’s not an outright ban on toxic flame retardants, so here’s what you should look for:

    • If a product’s tag (usually attached to a cushion or on the body of the product somewhere) says “TB 117,” it likely contains toxic flame retardants.

    • If a product’s tag says “TB 117-2013,” it meets the updated standard which does not require the addition of flame retardants. BUT it’s still wise to contact the manufacturer and ask if it’s elected to use any. (We know…grumble, grumble…why can’t it be easier!)

  • Bust dust. Because we’re surrounded by materials that contain flame retardants and slowly degrade over time, household dust is laden with these chemicals and a primary source of exposure. Use a damp rag to dust regularly, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, and open windows regularly to flush the dust out. And don’t forget about your car where the flame retardant levels can be up to 20 times higher than what’s found in your home.

  • Wash hands. The dust that’s all around us ends up on our hands and if you eat without washing them, you’re eating flame retardants, too. Even more important, wash your child’s hands A LOT. As you know, little ones crawl around and play on the floor and are constantly sticking their hands in their mouths, which leads to ingesting about twice as much house dust as adults per day.

  • Eat low fat and lower on the food chain. Many toxic flame retardants have become environmental pollutants that linger in soil and water and concentrate in fats as they make their way up the food chain (aka “bioaccumulation”). For the most part, try to choose healthy, plant-based fats like avocado, nuts, and seeds. And, when you eat meat, poultry, and fatty fish, cut off excess fat before cooking and use methods of cooking that draw fat away (like broiling, as opposed to frying).

 

Have any questions about flame retardants? Let us know in the comments. We’re always happy to help!

 

Learn more:

How I Became a Fan of Online Yoga Classes

online yoga 1The idea of following along with a yoga video from the Internet has long floated around in my head filed away next to internet dating. Probably cool for others, I thought, but not for me. I had my studio with the teachers I liked, and classes in the style I wanted.

But I often overheard students whisper the names of buzzy yoga websites while slipping on my shoes after yoga class: “Yoga vibes,” “Yoga Glo,” “Yogi’s Anonymous” seemed to be the most popular.

Like many of us, I have a busy life. I have two small children who are not on my yoga schedule, and while I’m busy being mom and partner they always demand my best. This often happens during my favorite classes. Hence my dilemma: I wanted yoga in my life, but I started feeling like authentic yoga was for the single and mobile people in Los Angeles, not me.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t against using technology to practice yoga. I released a Prenatal Yoga DVD so pregnant moms can do just that — use technology to let me help them get ready for their big day. But could taking online yoga classes really be useful?

One day while browsing around the Web I found my beloved Annie Carpenter on the website “Yoga Vibes,” where you can find hundreds of streaming yoga classes to take on your own time. It dawned on me — online yoga might be a way to keep my favorite teacher in my pocket so that I could take a class from her whenever I could find the time. I had always shied away from trying to practice with an online teacher, thinking I might have to go on a few “bad dates” before I got lucky. Not so! Schedule-wise, it’s great. The classes are ready when I am, and I can be late or look exhausted — it doesn’t matter! Whenever I’m ready to practice yoga, I just start a video.

I chose a 30 minute video for my first session. And I have a confession to make: I wasn’t a perfect yogi. I had my iTunes on in the background, I checked my phone, and I indulged in some bad alignments. But in spite of a less than stellar performance, I loved it. Annie would be horrified! That is not how she runs her yoga classes. In her classes, yoga is focused and what I did seemed to be precisely the opposite.

But you know what? I practiced yoga that day and I almost didn’t. I had a very good reason not to practice, two really good reasons actually. One happens to be walking for his first time, and the other spinning and singing and becoming quite the little drama queen.

So in my imperfect world I turned on my music, practiced at my pace and desired level, and found the bliss that only yoga brings me. Then, with a smile in my heart and satisfaction coursing through my body, I hopped into bed. Now I know that no matter how hectic my schedule, online yoga classes will allow me to keep yoga practice in my daily life. So, go ahead, and give online yoga classes a try!

Internet Yoga I have tried and teachers I recommend:

Yoga Vibes: Annie Carpenter

Yoga Glo: Dice Lida-Klein

Yogi’s Anonymous: Brock and Krista Cahill

My Yoga Online: Andrea Marcum

Daily Burn: Briohny Smyth

Have you ever taken an online yoga class and what did you think of it? Tell us in the comments. 

This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Before undertaking any course of exercise, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.

Jessica James has been practicing yoga seriously for 12 years, and for the last 6 years she has developed yoga sets that sculpt the body and clear the mind as a teacher. During her second pregnancy, Jessica shared her own experience with a unique fitness based prenatal yoga program. She has completed 3 yoga alliance certified teacher training courses and currently lives in Malibu, CA with her family.

Honest Digs The Garden School Foundation

Garden 1

To celebrate our one-year anniversary of working with The Garden School Foundation, Honest joined in a new garden-building project at 24th Street Elementary School near Downtown Los Angeles.

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Garden 7

 

As best told in the words of our Honest team, here were some of the highlights from the day:

  • “It was cool to watch the kids’ reactions when they found bugs. The garden was awesome. This was the first school I have seen with a big garden space dedicated and organized to help educate the children. I personally loved that my daughter enjoyed helping in the volunteer activities and that I was able to spend one-on-one time with her.” – Lucy C
  • “I love the Garden School Foundation! I helped with some leveling to create an outdoor classroom and it is a lot harder than it sounds! It was so neat to transform this rough terrain and piles of mulch with my co-workers into a beautiful surface that will act as an incredible space for students to perform and learn — I want to go back to see the final outcome.” – Hannah H.

Garden 3

  • “I spent the day pick axing (pick axing!!) a rock hard 10′ x 30′ square to level it out for an outdoor classroom space with coworkers and friends, and had a blast. I love how we always put as much into these events as we would when developing a new product or speaking with our members.” – Courtney H.
  • “I loved being able to start the day working hard and trying to pull out weeds, and then ending the day with painting animals and watching all the kids creating their own.” – Allison L.

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  • “It was awesome to partner with the Garden School Foundation. They have beautiful gardens that are bringing people of different communities back to the earth with programs that help people live healthier more sustainable lives.” – Mike B.
  • “I loved how excited and grateful they were (The Garden School Foundation) to have us participate. When I was checking in, a volunteer expressed how impressed she was with how many excited and enthusiastic Honest employees were there.” – Courtney H.
  • “My favorite part was watching the children and parents participate in the activities that the garden areas have to offer.” – Lucy C.

Garden 4

Even Honest employees learned a thing or two about gardening!

  • “I learned that palm trees — even the very little ones (3 inches) — have deep roots (8 inches) and are very difficult to remove.” – Mike B.
  • “I had no idea rose bushes were so hard to up-root!” – Allison L.
  • “It was warm day and those weeds did not want us to pull them out of the ground, it seemed as if they were putting our strength to the test.” – Lucy C.
  • “Gardening and leveling is an awesome workout!” – Hannah H

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About The Garden School Foundation: The Garden School Foundation (GSF) is dedicated to providing an interdisciplinary program of education through garden-based learning in outdoor living classrooms. Turning asphalt into ecosystems, they teach standards-based lessons and cooking classes in the garden classroom and provide educators the tools they need to make school gardens thrive. 24th street Elementary School is the prototype for this program and GSF is currently working to expand this approach to other underserved schools throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District.

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